Much-loved actor turns attention to big screen

Three women and a man, all aged 30 to 40, are on holiday one August. He is the husband of one of the women and the brother of another, who has brought a German friend of hers along. It soon turns out that the young woman is neither German, nor a deaf-mute, as she would have the others think, but is in fact the brother’s lover. Then, all of a sudden, the man is stung by a bee. Fearful of an allergic reaction, he jumps into the sea and emerges twice his normal size, revealing his «other» self. The play is titled «A Bee in August.» Written and directed by Theodoris Atheridis, who also plays the lead role, it is a delightful, bittersweet comedy that is running for a second season at the Athinon Theater. Atheridis plays the thin version of the character, while his alter ego is played by the more robust Antonis Loudaros. Alina Kotsovolou is the jilted wife, Vicky Volioti the accomplice/sister, and Smaragda Karydi the «German deaf-mute» lover. They all play their parts beautifully, unfettered by the fact that they are on stage for around two hours wearing nothing but bathing suits. This is the second play that Atheridis – one of the country’s most amiable actors – has penned, following 2003’s «For Love…» «The fact that I am an actor – after the huge exposure I got from the television series ‘I Love You, You Love Me’ – allowed me to seize the opportunity and reveal a different side of myself: the writer in me, whom I have always known was in there somewhere,» said Atheridis, explaining how even as a young teenager he would write plays for himself and his friends. After penning lyrics for the band Agamoi Thytes and then writing for television, the theater was just a natural step for the actor. And this is not the end for him, he said, divulging that he wrote a screenplay of «A Bee in August» last summer. «It was very, very hard though, because the language of the screen is completely different,» he said. «I’m going to make it into a movie next summer, when we finish the stage performances. I’m going to direct it myself. Actually, this is one of the things that made it so hard, because I was not writing a simple script, I did the entire deconstruction, scene by scene.» Atheridis also directs the stage version at the Athinon Theater. «I directed it because I am not on stage the entire time anyway. As far as cinema is concerned, I must admit that whatever I try my hand at, I feel most familiar with. The one thing I haven’t tried yet is a film. Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to be an actor because I was thinking about the movies. Then I fell in love with the theater. As you can see, I always have to make a huge detour to arrive where I want to go.» The film will feature the same core cast of actors, an advantage since the group has already rehearsed the work, albeit for the stage, exhaustively. «It is a huge advantage,» said Atheridis. «In Greek cinema, there is a lot of talent in a lot of fields, but when it comes to guiding the actors, we don’t always do such a good job.» Back to the play, the two sides of the same character are meant to reflect the bold side and the side more encumbered by inhibitions. «This is the playing field where the contest between the two occurs and the backdrop is marriage and all the problems that arise in a marriage over time, along with a new romance that breathes new, fresh air and the inevitable end of that, in its turn,» explained Atheridis.